Preventing burnout is a hot topic in the media right now—you’ve likely read about France’s new proposed legislation which addresses work-related stress and burnout. The “right to disconnect” legislation encourages employers to reduce employee stress levels by banning after-hours work-related communications, including messages sent on weekends and holidays.
Disconnecting, preventing burnout, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance becomes even more important as summer approaches. Studies show that workplace productivity drops by as much as 20 percent during summer months. As the weather heats up and sunny days have many employees staring longingly out of office windows, it’s a perfect time to revisit what you’re doing to prevent and address summer burnout in your organization (even if you don’t live in France).
So how do you encourage work-life balance and keep employees happy to be at work when they’d rather be sipping margaritas on a beach? Here are our 7 favourite summer stress-busters:
1. Leave work at work. Follow France’s lead, and put limits on working outside of work hours. Part of encouraging work-life balance means preventing digital overload. If you can’t ban after-hours emails and calls completely, put limits on the amount of time spent on work tasks outside of work.
2. Set an example. Employees are more likely to practice self-care and have a healthy work-life balance if you show them how it’s done. Leave work on time. Working excessive hours can lead to high stress and burn out for both you and your employees.
3. Let them set their schedule. Prevent the summer clock-watching epidemic by allowing employees to choose when their work day starts and ends. As long as they’re getting the work done and are present during core work hours, be as flexible as possible!
4. Give them options. If you don’t already offer a compressed work week to employees, summer is a great time to make this an option. Let employees work 4 longer days in exchange for an extra day off.
5. Let them play hooky. Let employees leave early on Fridays for the summer. If you’re in an industry where it’s not possible to let everyone leave early, set a rotating schedule so everyone gets a few extra hours tacked onto their weekends. The cost of a few extra hours’ pay is minimal, and can have a big impact on productivity during the rest of the week.
6. Encourage vacations. You give them vacation time, but do they use it? Vacations are great for boosting morale and productivity, but employees may feel like no one else can do their job, and hesitate to take time off. Encourage employees to take vacation by cross-training employees to back each other up, and not allowing vacation days to carry over into the next year.
7. Get outside together. Plan an afternoon event on a weekday, and invite everyone’s families along. Some ideas? Host a barbeque, have a beach potluck, arrange an outdoor yoga class, or visit a waterpark together.
Your Engaged HR Assignment: Pick your favourites from the list and commit to implementing at least three of these burnout prevention strategies this summer in your organization!